The Medal of Honor series was rebooted in 2010 after 12 games, with a new focus on ‘authentic’ real-world situations faced by operators and special forces in the ongoing war in Afghanistan. While the game had an enjoyable single-player element by main developers Danger Close and a decent multiplayer done by Battlefield team DICE, the game ultimately served just as a temporary stopgap between Battlefield titles for publisher EA and doesn’t exist as a populated title today.
Two years later, developers Danger Close are close to releasing their second title in the reboot: Warfighter. The game looks to address the shortcomings of its predecessor, using the technically strong Frostbite 2 engine employed by DICE in both the singleplayer and multiplayer portions of the game. This time around, both segments are being created by the Danger Close studio, which should give a more cohesive experience upon the game’s launch.
The game was recently shown off at the Eurogamer Expo in London, where 24 players faced off in an Onslaught or Rush style objective-based battle. One team was the attacking force, picking targets from around the map and trying to destroy them through planting explosives. The other team was the defending force, attempting to defuse planted bombs and reach the four minute time limit for each objective. Regardless of the outcome of each objective, the game continued until all five objectives had been attempted.
Each team was made up of four two-man groups, who were seated next to each other. I played the game with my good friend Adam. Both of us have a fair amount of experience playing Battlefield and the first Medal of Honor title, but tend to play on PC rather than Xbox 360. I rolled with the Special Ops character class, who was equipped with an MP7 SMG and the ability to see through walls, while Adam chose a Rifleman with an assault rifle and grenade launcher. Each class had different loadouts and abilities, and was represented by a different type of national special forces. Americans were most common, but other classes were also represented by Canadians, Swedes, South Koreans and more.
The gameplay was on the whole fast and furious, with the option to spawn directly on your partner proving a useful adaptation of the larger four person squad spawn system of Battlefield. As you could only spawn if your partner wasn’t seen by the enemy, it was important to communicate when to hide and when to move ahead. You could also use this to your advantage with the enemy, as you could keep enemies spotted to force their team-mates to spawn back from the action. This means that you don’t tend to get gunned down by someone who spawns in just as you’re taking out an opponent, which is a welcome change. The spawn system wasn’t perfect though, as the dynamic nature of the battlefield meant that I sometimes spawned immediately behind enemies.
Overall, the gameplay was polished and enjoyable. While I’ve read about some gamers who had a fairly buggy experience, that wasn’t reflected in my play through; I experienced good frame rates and everything proceeded as expected. Call-ins were present but didn’t seem overly powerful, although a Blackhawk helicopter was a powerful presence on the Battlefield and resulted in a lot of kills for its gunner.
In general, I found the game offered a lot more tactical freedom than the previous Medal of Honor title, which had extremely cramped maps with few potential angles of attack. This meant I could exploit the lack of awareness of most of my competitors and my class’s special ability, appearing behind them to rack up the points. Ultimately, Adam and I ended up as the highest ranking pair in the game, with a combined total of 56 kills. We also picked up that rare attacking victory – the only one I saw out of the five or six matches I spectated beforehand.
I went into the game generally apathetic about it, and I walked out quite convinced that I would pick it up on PC when it was released. I’d definitely recommend giving it a try when it comes out, which is October 23rd in North America, October 25th in the EU and October 26th in the UK (sigh). It’ll be available on PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and even Wii U.